Ever since their best player and leader Derrick Rose went down with a devastating knee injury, the Chicago Bulls (past and present) have taken to writing one another inspirational messages. Bulls legend Scottie Pippen posted an open letter on the team’s website today. Here’s an excerpt: “With what happened to Derrick in Game 1, it would be easy to hang your heads right now. You could lose sight of the ultimate goal and give up before the rest of the games have even been played. But I know that’s not even a consideration for this group. And that’s exactly why you’ll make me, Derrick, the organization, and the city of Chicago so proud. To a man, it’s time for each of you to take a look in the mirror. Decide who you really are and what you represent as a basketball player. Reflect on what you have brought to the table for your team all season long and why you’re a valuable member of the Bulls. Because all of you have contributed to this team’s incredible success. Ask yourself what you can do for the team moving forward. Whether it’s through your verbal leadership or diving on the floor after a loose ball, it’s going to be all about grinding it out moving forward. If there is one piece of advice I can offer you, it’s to put every last ounce of effort you have out there to make everyone proud—Derrick, the fans, and first and foremost, yourself. Your team has come a long way in terms of what it has been able to achieve this season. And that was done collectively, as a group. It has never been about any one individual. Yes, Derrick was the reigning NBA MVP, but he epitomizes the team concept and you all followed his lead. So it’s been the effort of the group, as well as a tremendous job by the coaching staff, which has gotten us to this point. And it’s exactly why I feel good about this team right now. You’re a group that remains together. You’ve repeatedly lifted each other up when a teammate has fallen. Now, it comes down to continuing to give your best effort every time you step on to the basketball court. It’s easy to say you’re doing that, but are you really dedicating yourself to another two months of basketball? As a player, that’s what I always wanted out of my teammates. Just make sure you arrive on gameday focused and full of energy. If guys want to just show up and take on the 76ers or whoever, well, that might not be enough to get the job done. It takes locking in on the task at hand and honing in on what you need to do in order to be successful in the NBA postseason. While I dealt with my share of injuries throughout my career, I was fortunate to have been healthy for the majority of our run in the 1990’s. The same can be said about Michael Jordan. But, when Michael retired for the first time to play baseball in 1993, we were faced with a similar challenge to what you’re up against—playing without your best player and leader. Granted, Michael chose to step away from the game and Derrick is sidelined because of his injury, but it comes down to the players who are still out there coming together to collectively rise up as a group and win games. We exceeded a lot of expectations in the regular season, finishing 55-27. But as we entered the postseason, a lot of people had written us off and said we didn’t have a chance without Michael. There was a lot of talk about how we wouldn’t make it out of the first round and might even get swept. But we didn’t listen to any of that. We believed in ourselves and we went out to play the type of basketball that we knew we were capable of playing. We swept Cleveland in the first round and it was a great feeling. Even though we ultimately fell short and lost to New York in a second round Game 7, we all believed we could have—and should have—done better. My point is that there was never a moment where we felt sorry for ourselves or let anyone push us into any self-doubt. We stayed positive and believed that if we stuck together and played good, hard defense, we could beat any team out there. That’s what I believe you can do as well.”
You Might Also Like
Stay up to date on the latest basketball news with our curated email newsletters.